Fun Sicilian Amber Wine That Needs a Few More Years

Today’s Story: Azienda Agricola COS

Azienda Agricola COS is a revered wine estate established in 1980 in Vittoria on the Italian island of Sicily. COS was established by three friends, Giambattista Cilia, Giusto Occhipinti, and Cirino Strano, with the first letter of their last names creating the acronym of COS for which the project is named. COS is largely considered a pioneer and champion for Sicilian wines, namely seeking to prove that world-class and high-quality wines can come from the island. COS farms all of their vineyards adhering to organic and biodynamic principles, and they have never used synthetic or chemical fertilizers throughout the life of the venture. This philosophy carries over into the cellar as well, where the wines are made as naturally as possible. For instance, COS is an adopter of clay amphorae dug into the ground for aging because Occhipinti believes them to be a vessel that doesn’t mask any terroir-driven element of the wines. For any bottlings that do not age in amphorae, they use large neutral Slavonian oak botti or concrete tanks to similar effect. All wines see extended maceration, including the whites, which Occhipinti uses as natural preservative so zero sulphur needs to be added during winemaking and at most a minimal dose is added at bottling.

I previously wrote about the 2014 Cerasuolo di Vittoria Classico delle Fontane from COS, which is a fun wine made from 60% Nero d’Avola and 40% Frappato.

Today’s Wine: 2019 Pithos Bianco

100% Grecanico; 11% ABV

The 2019 Pithos Bianco is pale amber in color. Given some time to blossom in the glass, the aromas are of medium (+) intensity and the nose showcases notes of orange rind, apricot, tangerine, peach skins, honeysuckle, delicate dried green herbs, honeycomb, and finely crushed rock. Meanwhile the flavors are of medium intensity and the palate displays notes of peach, tangerine, apricot, melon, honey, saline, and crushed rock minerality. This dry amber wine is medium-bodied with medium (+) acidity, medium (-) tannins, medium (-) alcohol, and a long finish. Quite good, though this is lacking some intensity I was hoping for and I will be curious to see how this develops over the next several years.

Price: $35 (closer to $20 in Europe). This is a very good value closer to the prices found in Europe, however for an average price of $35 in the US (I paid $40) I think this is just okay in value terms. The nose is gorgeous and quite complex, though the palate is lacking in intensity for me to really wow me. Given the acidity, great balance, and length though this should only improve.

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